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Description for THE CUPPI by Sandy Johnson:

A twelve-year-old girl, dying among strangers---pushed or fallen from the window of a seedy midtown hotel, while her best friend is being brutally assaulted in the next room....

A free-lance news photographer, drawn to the story because the dead girl looks startlingly like his own twelve-year-old daughter...

For the New York Police Department, the dead girl is part of an epidemic of children-turned prostitutes. In police talk, her death is a "CUPPI" - Circumstances Undetermined Pending Police Investigations. And the photographer's attempts to turn the CUPPI into a homicide investigation are, at first, only a nuisance.

The impact of this story of a big-city crime and detection goes far beyond fiction. It is based on an actual NYPD investigation, and author Sandy Johnson worked closely with the New York police to the the stunning, authentic action and atmosphere of this novel.

It is a novel that quickly becomes more real than any headline. Twelve-year-old Freddie Charles and her friend Winter are runaways from a world that has taunted and rejected them. In the city's glittering jungle of pimps and pornography, drugs and turnstile justice, the girls are courted---and trapped. When photographer Wood picks up their trail, he moves into the tough, cynical world of good policemen who have lost too many battles to join another war. He also steps into the unexpected joys and pains of a new love---learning to trust and then to care for the sensitive, vulnerable woman doctor who becomes his only ally. Sandy Johnson's human story is "real"; the voices of her cops and runaways ring with street wisdom learned through a thousand bitter confrontations.

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